Entertainment Editor

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Grab your race gear: LEGOLAND debuts first virtual reality roller coaster

WINTER HAVEN, FL — March 23, 2018 — The Great LEGO Race opens at LEGOLAND Florida Resort. (PHOTO / LOCK + LAND, Chip Litherland for LEGOLAND Florida Resort)

Guests were finally able to put the pedal to the plastic last week, after months of anticipation of LEGOLAND Florida Resort’s newest attraction: The Great LEGO Race.

The park’s first-ever virtual reality roller coaster was developed under the supervision of Merlin Magic Making — the company’s global creative and delivery division — to combine roller coaster thrills with virtual reality technology, bringing LEGO brand minifigures to life for an unforgettable experience.

“The Great LEGO Race was inspired by the way kids play with LEGO toys at home,” said Candy Holland, senior creative director for Merlin Magic Making, which designs and develops attractions for Merlin Entertainment sites around the world. “It’s a unique LEGO adventure that lets kids enter an epic imaginary world made entirely from LEGO bricks, featuring a host of different themes and fun LEGO characters, all mixed up together.”

The adventure begins right at the front of the attraction. The ride’s bold entry portal features giant versions of several minifigure racers and their custom LEGO vehicles. The waiting queue is filled with colorful graphics representing the five racing teams, getting riders excited as their anxiously await their turn. Video screens also demonstrate the virtual reality experience.

The LEGO competitors in this race are the pirate, wizard, surfer, trendsetter and pharaoh. Each digital competitor drives a brick-built vehicle, like a rocket-powered windsurfing rig, a stylish scooter fueled by espresso and an ornately canopied bed carried by mummy servants.

While the virtual reality headsets are optional, they are perfectly in sync with each twist and turn of the ride. The exterior of the headset features a set of LEGO eyes, turning riders into LEGO characters themselves.

Standing at the exit of the LEGO Technic area ride on opening day, you could hear kids exclaiming about their awesome experience.

“That was the coolest ride ever!” said a nine-year-old rider. “It was crazy!”

But the 35-mile-per-hour coaster built for kids even had adults raving on opening day.

“It was great. It was unlike any ride I’ve ever been on,” said Clark Spurlock, one of the first riders of The Great LEGO Race. “The virtual reality headset feels really comfortable. You actually do feel like you’re in this LEGO world when you’re on the ride. The whole time you’re feeling the motions.”

Guests will soon be able to exit the ride and take a walk over to the new Funnel Cake Factory, also located in the theme park’s LEGO Technic area. The highly themed pit stop will offer freshly made-to-go order funnel cakes with toppings like fresh fruit, powdered sugar and soft-serve ice cream.

In other LEGOLAND Florida Resort news, LEGOLAND Water Park kicked off its longest season ever earlier this month. This season is offering the park’s biggest number of operating dates since its opening in 2012.

Adults and kids can make a splash racing down a pair of enclosed slides, floating through the Build-A-Raft River, under the 300-gallon water bucket or in the LEGO-themed pool made for all ages.

MORE FROM LEGOLAND.COM:

LEGOLAND Florida Resort features more than 50 rides, shows and attractions inspired by popular LEGO and DUPLO® brands, including awesome experiences based on “The LEGO Movie™,” “LEGO NINJAGO®: Masters of Spinjitzu,” LEGO NEXO KNIGHTS™, LEGO City, LEGO Technic and LEGO Friends, plus LEGOLAND Water Park and on-site accommodations at the 152-room LEGOLAND Hotel and the 166-room LEGOLAND Beach Retreat.

Throughout the year, guests can enjoy an incredible lineup of special events included with all forms of theme park admission. This year’s lineup features LEGO® Star Wars™ Days (May 5, 6, 12, 13, 19, 20), Firefighter Friday (Oct. 5), Brick or Treat (select dates in October), KIDZ BOP Weekend (Nov. 10-12), Christmas Bricktacular (select dates in December) and Kids’ New Year’s Party (select dates in late December).

For more information about visiting LEGOLAND Florida Resort, including multi-day vacation packages, savings on advance purchase of admission tickets, “edu-taining” field trip programs, services for guests with disabilities, VIP experiences, military discounts and much more, visit www.LEGOLAND.com/florida.